Who is responsible for safety training for staff? If you are asking this question, the answer is probably… You. Ultimately, if you are an employer, it is your responsibility to provide safety training that is relevant to the hazards employees may encounter in their work environment and compliant with applicable regulations. Responsible safety staffing companies put your people’s safety first. Many employers, particularly larger ones, shift the duty of responsible safety training to a dedicated member of their management teams, such as a health and safety manager or health and safety inspector.
Regardless of the title of the position, this person is charged with ensuring all staff receive proper training, that such training is documented, and that ongoing efforts are made to keep employees up to date in terms of hazards they do or may face on the job. Even if you have such a person, though, it is important to remember that the responsibility for safety and proper training ultimately starts and ends with you.
Responsible Safety Training for Staff
Health and safety in the workplace must be a priority; there should be no cutting corners or pinching pennies when it comes to providing adequate – and ongoing - education. Employers must deliver training that is relevant to the hazards that workers may face in their work environment. These differ, of course, depending on the nature of the job, but nonetheless, it is critical that the correct steps are taken and documented.
One significant reason why responsible safety staffing is critical is compliance. There are state and federal laws mandating the steps we must take to ensure a healthful and safe workplace. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), for example, is a federal body established by the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970. The vast majority of workers in the United States are under OSHA’s purview (there are some exceptions, such as those who are self-employed, miners, many public sector workers, and some who work in transportation).
According to the Department of Labor, employers who fall under the authority of the OSH Act “have a general duty to provide work and a workplace free from recognized, serious hazards.” Failure to comply can lead to significant fines and penalties. There are different types of penalties under OSHA:
- Violation: Serious, Other-than-Serious, and Posting Requirements.
- Maximum Penalty: $14,502 per violation
- Violation: Failure to Abate (i.e. failure to correct a violation in the allowable time frame)
- Maximum Penalty: $14,502 per day beyond the given abatement date
- Violation: Willful or Repeated
- Maximum Penalty: $145,027 per violation
Recently, for example, a contractor from North Florida was cited for repeat violations around failing to provide employees with a fall protection system when working at heights greater than six feet. They were informed of the violation – and did nothing to protect their workers. OSHA Area Director Michelle Gonzalez says, “This employer has repeatedly disregarded the safety of their employees despite previous OSHA violations. Employers must ensure that workers are protected from these well-known hazards.” They face over $61,000 in fines.
Can your business afford a hit like this? Likely not. And even if you could, can you afford the cost to your reputation?
But more important: disregard for safety, failing to take proper steps, slacking on training… This can and does lead to injuries and even fatalities. This is unacceptable. As appalling is failing to provide employees with the training they need to protect themselves from well-known hazards in the workplace. As construction, manufacturing, and other industries are inherently riskier, you need to double down on your efforts to ensure your people’s safety.
Responsible Safety Staffing
Safety begins before day one of a job. It can be difficult to keep track of all the various regulations around safety training and to ensure you are in 100% compliance, especially if you have a smaller business or you are dealing with a hectic schedule (as we all are these days!).
Working with a responsible safety staffing agency can be your best solution. Not only can you access the skilled, semi-skilled, and unskilled labor you need to meet client deadlines and budgetary goals, you can take advantage of a great perk. Depending on the staffing company you choose, they may provide all OSHA training to all of the workers who are seeking the right job. This means that they will come to you – fully OSHA certified for the work they are going to perform.
This allows you to save untold time and money on your onboarding process, and it engages new hires immediately as they can shadow, go out on job sites, and perform other duties rather than sit at a desk.
The staffing company can also provide safety training to your organization, delivering the right information and education for everyone from upper and middle management to ground-level, boots-on-the-ground employees. This again can save you significant time and resources while ensuring you remain in compliance with applicable regulations.
Who is responsible for safety training for staff? Bottom line: you. But we can help. Reach out to us today.